Press Council highlights critical role of the media during elections

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As the day of the elections fast approaches, the spotlight is expected to shine on the media coverage of arguably the most important polls since the dawn of democracy 30 years ago. Media companies across South Africa are abuzz in preparation for the national and provincial elections set for May 29.

The Code of Ethics and Conduct for South African Print and Online Media (Press Code) will govern media coverage by newspapers and news websites.

According to the Executive Director of Press Council South Africa, Latiefa Mobara, this code will play an important role in guiding journalists on how to report news events ethically and responsibly.

“The media have a critical role to play in providing reliable and accurate information to voters. Ahead of elections, the Press Council has produced a guidance note for journalists on how to cover the elections and we are urging journalists to remain vigilant to mis-and disinformation. ”

The code emphasises the importance of the media in enabling South Africans to make informed choices. According to the code, the media must remain independent of commercial and political influence.

“The media shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence reporting and avoid conflicts of interest as well as practices that could lead readers to doubt the media’s independence and professionalism.”

Mobara says the code also covers issues of fair reportage, transparency and accountability and how to report on opinion polls.

The code has been translated into six additional South African languages, isiZulu; isiXhosa; Venda, Sepedi, Afrikaans and Tsonga.

Below is the Press Code: